Designer Naeem Khan speaks out on immigration ban while fashion industry's silence grows deafening

Designer Naeem Khan speaks out on immigration ban while fashion industry's silence grows deafening
Naeem Khan gives an interview backstage during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at The Arc, Skylight at Moynihan Station on September 14, 2016 in New York City.
Source: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Naeem Khan gives an interview backstage during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at The Arc, Skylight at Moynihan Station on September 14, 2016 in New York City.
Source: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

While actors and actresses, musicians and celebrities have spoken out against President Donald Trump's executive order banning refugees from entering the United States within in the next 120 days, as well as citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, the fashion world has remained remarkably mum. Major brands, models and designers have yet to speak out. 

That is, other than Naeem Khan, an immigrant himself from India, who was one of the first to issue a statement on Sunday. 

"I am the immigrant that brings beauty to make you shine," Khan wrote on Instagram. "I am the immigrant that is woven into the fabric of America. I am the immigrant that loves this country as all your ancestors who were immigrants."

"America look deep and stand for who is patriotic, our values and not for a pompous self promoting racist snake oil salesman," Khan concluded. "Think and act." 

What makes this rather remarkable is that much like the tech and entertainment industries, the fashion industry is full of immigrants. Designers like Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Phillip Lim all immigrated to America. Brands rely on labor from other countries to produce their clothing and goods as well. 

Though Christian Siriano also decided to make his opinions known on Sunday, Naeem Khan was the first notable immigrant designer to speak out thus far. 

A photo posted by Bella Hadid (@bellahadid) on

Later on Sunday, Public School's Dao-Yi Chow posted a video from a New York City rally with the caption: "My Muslim brothers and sisters NYC is out here and will continue to be out here in support. New York is an immigrant town."

My Muslim brothers and sisters NYC is out here and will continue to be out here in support. New York is an immigrant town.

A photo posted by video posted by Dao-Yi Chow (@alldaydaoyi) on

Then on Monday, Diane von Furstenberg, who is originally from Belgium, was quoted by Business of Fashion saying: "The fashion industry has always been a reflection of what America is all about... inclusion and diversity. It will continue to stand by these standards. I am personally horrified to see what is going on."

Few models have spoken out too, despite working with many immigrants themselves in the industry. Those who have taken the time to make some sort of statement so far include Bella Hadid and Gigi Hadid, who attended a rally in support of refugees, and Cara Delevigne, who posted on Instagram on Sunday. 

Many designers and models have issued statements on things like the Women's March. It's unclear what this lingering silence on the immigration issue means. 

Mic has reached out to Khan for further comment. 

Jan. 30, 2017, 3:02 p.m.: This story has been updated.

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Rachel Lubitz

Rachel is a senior Style writer at Mic. She previously worked for The Washington Post's Style section for more than three years. Feel free to contact her at rachel@mic.com.

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